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Recovery from injuries requires patience, persistence and faith

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Low section view of a soccer player kicking a soccer ball

Arianne Brown shares that through many trials, including multiple injuries, her 15-year-old son’s patience, persistence and faith paid off.

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When I heard the news, I was elated, relieved and grateful. My 15-year-old son, Anderson, had scored a key goal in the team’s first win at the Desert Premier League Tournament in Arizona on Nov. 22. After many trials, his patience, persistence and faith had paid off.

During a season game on Sept. 7, he broke his hand. While racing toward a ball, Anderson was tripped from behind, sending him flying in the air. Hoping to shield his body from the fall, he put out his hand. However, he misjudged how high he was above ground, and when he finally landed, he wasn’t ready for impact.

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Anderson Brown, Arianne Brown’s son, with his coach and the referee after he sprained his ankle. It’s been one of several injuries he’s faced this season.

Utah Youth Soccer Association

Still able to play with a broken hand, he decided to play. The cast didn’t slow him down, and he was still able to beat his opponents to the ball, finding himself in a threatening position once again. True to form, the opposing player tripped up his legs in a last-ditch attempt to keep Anderson from scoring. He began to fall, and it looked like it would be a repeat of the game before. With a heavy cast on his right hand, Anderson had no choice but to land on his left side. Without a steady way to land, another bone broke; this time, his left clavicle.

Broken, but not down, Anderson kept his head up. Sure, he looked a bit ridiculous with one hand in a cast and the other in a sling, but he still moved forward with purpose. His season may have been lost, but he still had the more important State Cup tournament nearly six weeks out that he was determined to play a part in. 

After a few days, he was at it, kicking the ball against the downstairs wall. Unable to work his arms in his weight class, he worked the leg press. He even managed to build me a relatively nice napkin holder and paper weight in his ceramics class. How he managed this, I have no idea.

After a couple of weeks, he was taking shots at a local field and going for early morning runs. The cast on his hand came off, and he began lifting light weights with that arm. The motion in his upper body began to return, and he saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

State Cup came, and mentally, he was ready. Physically, though, I had my reservations. I knew he could play, but being the athlete he was, and playing the striking position that he did, he was always under heavy pressure from the other team. I worried his still-soft clavicle bone would meet the same demise. 

Then it happened. A challenge from an opponent sent him to the ground, and his opponent landed on top of him. Surely, his clavicle buckled under the pressure. Anderson stood up, and gave the OK. Phew… we had avoided the worst. The next time down the field, Anderson went in for a goal, and the keeper came in at full force to defend. Anderson’s left ankle buckled under the pressure, and he went down in agony.

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A teammate of Anderson Brown, Arianne Brown’s son, helps him stretch after Anderson sprained an ankle. It’s been one of several injuries Anderson faced this season.

Utah Youth Soccer Association

More than the physical pain (which, if you’ve sprained your ankle, you know it’s tremendous) was the emotional pain. You could see it in his eyes and gritted teeth. In a flash, there went the rest of the State Cup tournament. He was devastated. 

Throughout this ordeal, he and I talked often about the bigger picture. What could he learn from this? We both decided it was patience, persistence and faith — always looking forward — that would get him through this. 

Thankfully, competition soccer has a way of always having an opportunity around the corner. Two weeks from the ankle sprain, Anderson began training for the state Olympic Development Program pool, which he had made prior to his injuries. In the midst of the training would also be the league tournament in Arizona. 

If there was one injury I knew well, it was an ankle sprain, and two weeks had always been my magic number. Two weeks of walking to keep blood flowing and healing happening. Two weeks of balancing on that ankle to strengthen muscle and tendons. Two weeks of no impact from other teenage boys in the heat of competition. Two weeks would give his ankle, clavicle and hand the time he needed to heal. 

Nearly three months after the initial injury that started it all, things are looking up because Anderson never looked down. A text message in the form of a GIF of SpongeBob singing “Victory,” followed by my husband giving me the proud dad play-by-play, was reaffirming to me that injuries don’t need to be the end. 

With patience, persistence and faith in a goal not yet attained, good things will happen. Just take my son’s word for it. 

Arianne Brown is a mom of nine, who writes for many local and national publications. She finds solace at home with her family and logging miles anywhere her feet will take her. Many of her writings can be found by searching “A Mother’s Write” on Facebook. She also has a podcast “If They Only Knew: A Podcast about People.” Contact her at ariannebrown1@gmail.com.